Israel Political Brief May 31, 2012: US Jewish Leaders Ask President Barack Obama to Let Jonathan Pollard Go Free

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U.S. Jewish Leaders: Obama, Let Pollard Go

Conservative Rabbis stream told Obama Pollard has served an unprecedented period of time in jail.
Free Pollard protest

Free Pollard protest
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Rabbis from the Conservative Jewish stream met with President Barack Obama Wednesday and asked him to set Jonathan Pollard free immediately.

As justification for the request, the rabbis said that the time served by Pollard was unprecedented in view of his offenses, and noted his deteriorating health.

The meeting was originally planned to be held with White House Chief of Staff, Jack Lew. However, Obama popped in for a surprise visit.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger will be among the guests at the gala dinner in which President Shimon Peres will receive the Medal of Freedom. Kissinger recently published a letter which includes the statement that “justice will be done by the immediate freeing of Pollard.”

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Jewish News Brief May 30, 2012: President Obama, White House ‘regrets’ reference to ‘Polish death camp’

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White House ‘regrets’ reference to ‘Polish death camp’

Source: JTA, 5-30-12

The White House expressed its regrets about President Obama’s use of the term “Polish death camp.”

In a statement Wednesday morning, Tommy Vietor, the spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, said the president “misspoke” during his presentation of a posthumous Medal of Freedom a day earlier to Jan Karski, a Polish resistance fighter who was among the first to report German atrocities in his country.

“He was referring to Nazi death camps in Poland,” Vietor said. “We regret this misstatement, which should not detract from the clear intention to honor Mr. Karski and those brave citizens who stood on the side of human dignity in the face of tyranny.”

During the ceremony, Obama said of Karski, “Fluent in four languages, possessed of a photographic memory, Jan served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself. Jan took that information to President Franklin Roosevelt, giving one of the first accounts of the Holocaust and imploring to the world to take action.”

Poles insist on the term “Nazi death camps” to describe facilities such as Auschwitz and Sobibor….READ MORE

Jewish News Brief May 30, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Jewish American Heritage Month White House Reception

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IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA HOSTS AMERICAN JEWISH HERITAGE MONTH EVENT AT WHITE HOUSE

Obama hosts Jewish heritage event at White House

Source: JTA, 5-30-12

President Obama celebrated the values of communities petitioning government at a White House reception honoring Jewish American Heritage Month.

“We don’t just celebrate all that American Jews have done for our country; we also look toward the future,” he said. “And as we do, I know that those of you in this room, but folks all across this country will continue to help perfect our union, and for that I am extraordinarily grateful.”

Obama focused a large portion of his remarks on the 150th anniversary of an order that was issued by Gen. Ulysses Grant expelling Jews “as a class” from the military department of Tennessee.

“It was wrong. Even if it was 1862, even if official acts of anti-Semitism were all too common around the world, it was wrong and indicative of an ugly strain of thought,” Obama said.

He went on to note that American Jews protested the order. “What happened next could have only taken place in America,” the president said. “Groups of American Jews protested General Grant’s decision.”

Obama described how a Jewish merchant from Kentucky met with President Abraham Lincoln and, following the meeting, the order was revoked.

“Like so many groups, Jews have had to fight for their piece of the American dream,” Obama said. “But this country holds a special promise: That if we stand up for the traditions we believe in and in the values we share, then our wrongs can be made right, our union can be made more perfect, and our world can be repaired.”

The order by Lincoln to revoke Grant’s order was on display during the reception, as were letters from two Jewish groups asking for the revocation.

Years later as president, Grant said that he recognized his mistake and apologized for the order. Also on display was a receipt for his contribution to the Adas Israel congregation, which still exists, after attending an 1876 service.

Before he delivered his little history lesson, Obama’s staff consulted with Brandeis University’s Jonathan Sarna, who is an expert on American Jewish history…. READ MORE

  • Obama’s elegant post-blunder speech on Jewish heritage: Obama chose to ignore his referring to Nazi concentration camps as ‘Polish death camps’ during the Jewish American heritage reception, instead choosing to focus on a Jewish struggle during the Civil War…. – Haaretz, 5-31-12

Remarks by the President to a Jewish American Heritage Reception

Source: WH, 5-30-12

East Room

5:17 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you!  (Applause.)  Well, welcome to the White House, everybody.  I hope you’re having fun.  Excellent.

I want to recognize Ambassador Michael Oren, and thank him for his work representing our great friend, the state of Israel.  I want to recognize and thank all the members of Congress and the members of my administration who are here today.  I want to thank our musical guests, Rak Shalom.  (Applause.)  I was just meeting with all of them back there — they said they did quite a few numbers.  And they were outstanding, I know.

This year, we celebrate Jewish Heritage Month — Jewish American Heritage Month, and we’re also commemorating an important anniversary.  One hundred-fifty years ago, General Ulysses Grant issued an order –- known as General Orders Number 11 –- that would have expelled Jews, “as a class,” from what was then known as the military department of the Tennessee.  It was wrong.  Even if it was 1862, even if official acts of anti-Semitism were all too common around the world, it was wrong and indicative of an ugly strain of thought.

But what happened next could have only taken place in America. Groups of American Jews protested General Grant’s decision.  A Jewish merchant from Kentucky traveled here, to the White House, and met with President Lincoln in person.  After their meeting, President Lincoln revoked the order — one more reason why we like President Lincoln.  (Laughter and applause.)

And to General Grant’s credit, he recognized that he had made a serious mistake.  So later in his life, he apologized for this order, and as President, he went out of his way to appoint Jews to public office and to condemn the persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe.

Today, we have a few documents on display –- maybe some of you saw them when you walked in.  There are two letters of protest from Jewish organizations to President Lincoln.  There is President Lincoln’s handwritten reply, saying that he had taken action.  And there is a receipt for the donation that President Grant made to the Adas Israel Synagogue here in Washington, when he attended a service there in 1876.

So together, these papers tell a story, a fundamentally American story.  Like so many groups, Jews have had to fight for their piece of the American dream.  But this country holds a special promise:  that if we stand up for the traditions we believe in and in the values we share, then our wrongs can be made right; our union can be made more perfect and our world can be repaired.

Today, it’s our turn, our generation’s turn.  And you guys, your generation’s turn.  You’re younger than us.  (Laughter.)  We got some later generations here in the front.  We’re the ones who have to stand up for our shared values.   Here at home, we have to rebuild an America where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules.

Beyond our borders, we have to stand alongside our friends who share our commitment to freedom and democracy and universal rights; and that includes, of course, our unwavering commitment to the State of Israel and its security and the pursuit of a just and lasting peace.  (Applause.)

It’s no secret that we’ve got a lot of work to do.  But as your traditions teach us, while we are not obligated to finish the work, neither are we free to desist from that work.

So today, we don’t just celebrate all that American Jews have done for our country; we also look toward the future.  And as we do, I know that those of you in this room, but folks all across this country will continue to help perfect our union; and for that, I am extraordinarily grateful.

God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END
5:21 P.M. EDT

Israel Political Brief May 29, 2012: President Barack Obama Speaks to Conservative Judaism Leaders — Defends his Israel commitments, touts his Jewish ties

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Back to ‘kishkes’: Obama defends his Israel commitments, touts his Jewish ties

Source: JTA, 5-31-12

President Obama, shown speaking at a White House reception honoring Jewish American Heritage Month on May 31, 2012, told Conservative Jewish leaders the previous day that he probably knew more about Judaism than any other president.  (The White House)
1 out of 1Other Media

President Obama, shown speaking at a White House reception honoring Jewish American Heritage Month on May 31, 2012, told Conservative Jewish leaders the previous day that he probably knew more about Judaism than any other president. (The White House)

The so-called “kishkes issue” — what does President Obama, deep down, really feel about Israel — is now being addressed at the highest level by Obama himself.

Obama dropped in on a White House meeting Tuesday of lay and rabbinical leaders of the Conservative Judaism and Jack Lew, the president’s chief of staff. During his 20 minutes at the hourlong meeting, Obama emphasized his affection for Judaism and Israel, and like Vice President Joe Biden last week in a similar meeting with organizational leaders, his frustration with perceptions that he is cool toward the Jewish state.

The tone, coupled with blitzes of Jewish communities by Democratic leaders in recent months, reinforces the impression that the party’s leadership is unsettled by Republican inroads into what for decades has been a Democratic base constituency.

The presidential visit was “informal,” although the group of Jewish leaders knew a drop-by was likely. So when Obama walked into the Roosevelt Room, Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, was ready with the traditional blessing for heads of state….READ MORE

Obama chats with Conservative leaders

Source: JTA, 5-29-12

A group of leaders from the Conservative movement held an informal meeting Tuesday with President Obama.

Obama dropped by a scheduled meeting with White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew and thanked the 17 rabbis and lay leaders for their work to improve their communities.

The president stated his strong commitment to Israel’s security and discussed his actions to enhance security cooperation between the U.S. and Israel, as well as implement biting sanctions against Iran, according to a White House official.

Participants said they asked Obama questions about the social net, health care, the relationship with Israel, the threat from Iran, and Obama’s views on Jusaism and Israel.

The hour-long meeting with Lew in the White House’s Roosevelt Room was arranged by Rabbi Jack Moline, the rabbi of Agudas Achim synagogue in Alexandria, Va. and the director of public policy for the movement’s Rabbinical Assembly. Moline has close ties with the Obama administration.

“The meeting spoke to the president and administration’s deep appreciation of the values that motivate Jewish communities around the world,” Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, told JTA. “It was a values-driven conversation and represented the great potential for the Jewish community to make its views heard.”

Israel Political Brief May 28, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu condemns “the ongoing massacre” in Syria

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Netanyahu condemns Syria massacre

Source: JTA, 5-28-12

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the “the ongoing massacre” of civilians in Syria.

In a statement released Sunday evening, Netanyahu addressed the massacre over the weekend in the Syrian village of Houla that left an estimated 108 civilians dead, including at least 30 children.

Netanyahu expressed his “revulsion over the ongoing massacre being perpetrated by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad against innocent civilians, which continued over the weekend in Houla and included dozens of innocent children.”

“Iran and Hezbollah are an inseparable part of the Syrian atrocities and the world needs to act against them,” the prime minister leader was quoted as saying in the statement released by his office….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 24, 2012: Iran nuclear talks end without clear progress

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Iran nuke talks end without clear progress

Source: JTA, 5-24-12

Talks between world powers and Iran on its nuclear program ended with Iran reportedly reluctant to advance without sanctions concessions.

The talks conducted on Wednesday and Thursday in Baghdad between Iran and Russia, the United States, China, Britain France and Germany ended inconclusively, multiple media reports said, because Iran wanted a hold on major European oil sanctions set to kick in July 1 in exchange for staying at the table.

 

Western powers have emphasized that sanctions would remain in place until Iran provably made its program more transparent and suspended some enrichment of uranium — a key demand of Israel, which has expressed concern that Iran is buying time with the talks.

 

The next round of talks will be held in Moscow, June 17-19.

 

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Western experts say evidence increasingly suggests that Iran is close to a capability to build a nuclear weapon.

Israel Political Brief May 24, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Assures Israel will Solve African Migrant Problem — Deportations to Begin ‘Soon’ After Tel Aviv Rally Takes Violent Turn

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Israel will solve African migrant problem, Netanyahu assures

Source: JTA, 5-24-12

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decried violence against African migrants following a night of violent protest.”There is no place for either the expressions or the actions that we witnessed last night,” Netanyahu said Thursday, a day after a demonstration in south Tel Aviv against illegal African migrants turned violent. “I say this to the public at large as well as to the residents of south Tel Aviv, whose pain I understand.”

Netanyahu said the problem of the infiltrators would be solved.

“We will complete construction of the fence within a few months and we will soon begin repatriating infiltrators back to their countries of origin,” he said.

Wednesday night’s violent protest in south Tel Aviv’s Hatikvah neighborhood, involving about 1,000 protesters, ended with 17 arrests.

Protesters attacked African migrants who passed the demonstration, and smashed the windshield of a car carrying three migrants as well as other car windows. They also set trash bins on fire and threw firecrackers at police, Ynet reported. The rioters also broke into and looted shops associated with the African migrant community….READ MORE

Netanyahu: Deportations to Begin ‘Soon’

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said his government will begin enforcing Israel’s immigration laws soon; calls for calm in Tel Aviv

Binyamin Netanyahu

Binyamin Netanyahu
Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday vowed to begin enforcing Israel’s immigration laws and deporting illegal aliens “soon.”

“The problem of the illegal aliens must be solved and we will solve it,” Netanyahu said. “We will complete construction of the fence within a few months and we will soon begin repatriating illegal aliens back to their countries of origin..”

“However,” Netanyahu said in reference to violence that erupted following a rally in south Tel Aviv demanding deportations begin. “I would like to make it clear that there is no place for either the expressions or the actions that we witnessed last night.”

“I say this to the public and the residents of Tel Aviv,” he added. “We will solve the problem and we will do so responsibly.”

On Wednesday, more than 1,000 people calling for immigration laws to be enforced demonstrated at the corner of Irgun and Haganah in the southern Tel Aviv neighborhood of Hatikva.

During the rally, MK Danny Danon – who chairs the Knesset committee tasked with preventing illegal immigration to Israel – declared to demonstrators, “The state of Israel is at war with an enemy state that has formed within Israel and has its capital in southern Tel Aviv!”

After the rally some protesters smashed windows, lit garbage cans on fire, and damaged a car that had three illegal aliens in it. No one was hurt in the incident. On Thursday police arrested 12 people on suspicion of attacking the vehicle, and running riot.

Witnesses say vast majority of those who attended the rally both arrived and departed peacefully, despite the deep frustration felt by local residents.

Late last year, Netanyahu – who has described the deluge of illegal aliens in Israel a “national catastrophe” and “demographic threat” – said he would travel to Africa to meet with leaders and arrange for the safe return of their nationals currently in Israel.

Israel, a small nation of some 8 million people – of whom 75% are Jewish – does not have the capacity to absorb large numbers of non-Jewish immigrants or refugees while at the same time ensuring the Jewish character of the state.

Israel’s left has derided attempts to deport illegal aliens as ‘racism’ and ‘incitement,’ and argued that returning African refugees to their countries – especially Sudanese nationals – would endanger their lives.

However, discussions between the Foreign Ministry and the Attorney General this week concluded that in most cases illegal aliens from Africa can be safely returned to their countries of origin….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 23, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Orders Two-Week Delay on ‘Ulpana Law’ to Postpone Expulsion Plans to Beit El’s Ulpana Neighborhood

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Netanyahu Orders Two-Week Delay on ‘Ulpana Law’

Netanyahu orders the coalition to shelve Ketzaleh’s bill to legalize the Ulpana neighborhood and tells Barak to postpone expulsion plans.
A boy walks near Israeli flags in Ulpana

A boy walks near Israeli flags in Ulpana
Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has ordered the coalition to block National Union Knesset Member Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz’s bill to compensate potential expulsion victims at Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood and also told Defense Minister Ehud Barak to postpone demolition plans. The Prime Minister wants two weeks to solve the dilemma.

A court order for expulsions and demolitions of the five Ulpana apartment buildings is hanging over the heads of approximately two dozen families, some of whom have been living in the neighborhood for 10 years. There was no question of their legal presence until the High Court agreed with a left-wing organization petition that the land is owned by a Palestinian Authority Arab different from his cousin of the same name who sold the property – claiming ownership – to Beit El.

The government authorized the residents to move into their homes, which they argue were legally bought in good faith, but the High Court rejected their claim.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told coalition leader Ze’ev Elkin to work against advancing the bill proposed by MK Katz – whose party does not sit in the coalition – so that the government can find an alternative solution in two weeks.

Barak has said he opposes the proposed law because it would scuttle a standing court order and would give ammunition to the international anti-Israel movement. “In an advanced democratic country, there is no possibility of passing legislation that cancels a standing court order. Beit El is a large and important community that in the future will remain a part of the State of Israel in any future arrangement [with the Palestinian Authority). We must find a solution to carry out the court order while strengthening Beit El,” he said.

The implication is that Barak would agree to additional housing units in Beit El in exchange for carrying out the demolitions and expulsions. He has blocked thousands of homes from being built for Jews in Judea and Samaria by not signing authorization forms. As Defense Minister, he must sign each building permit for the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as they are subject to the  IDF civil administration.

Israel Political Brief May 23, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with National Union of Israel Students Leaders from Around the Country on the Occasion of National Student Day

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PM Netanyahu Meets with National Union of Israel Students Leaders from Around the Country on the Occasion of National Student Day

Photo by GPO

Source: PMO, 5-23-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, on the occasion of National Student Day, in his office, met with National Union of Israel Students leaders from around the country, led by NUIS Chairman Irzik Shmuli. Education Minister Gideon Saar, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, Deputy Minister for Student Affairs Gila Gamliel and Deputy Minister for Senior Citizen Affairs Leah Nass also attended the meeting.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “We have a great commitment to higher education. It starts with investments in resolving students’ problems in order to help them learn and lead the State of Israel in all fields – security, society, the economy, science and others.” The Prime Minister also commented on the Government’s actions to lower the cost of living for students and citizens: “Competition is the most social thing there is. We are working to increase competition and thereby lower the cost of living. See what has happened to the price of cellular phones, for example. Also in the housing sphere, we are working to break the state’s monopoly on land in order to lower housing costs. Additionally, we are working on behalf of young couples, some of whom are students, and in the coming months we will implement the law on free education from age three.”

NUIS Chairman Shmuli noted the complete cooperation between the Government and the NUIS in the fields of education, public transportation, bringing students and senior citizens closer together through voluntary community projects, and advancing cultural issue. “I have been active on behalf of students in various frameworks for seven years and there has never been a partnership like that with the Education Minister. There are also similar partnerships with other ministers.

Perhaps there are areas in which we agree less but given the major reform in higher education, the Sheshinski report, the recent welcome news in the cellular phone sector, we also know how to show gratitude and we appreciate these things very much. It is clear to us that when so many ministers are working on behalf of the students, there is a guiding hand from above and this is not a coincidence. Therefore, Mr. Prime Minister, I thank you personally.”

Education Minister and Council on Higher Education Chairman Saar informed those in attendance that the next meeting of the Council, he intends to submit for approval new benefits that have been formulated for students serving in the IDF reserves. The benefits will be in regard to eligibility to be absent from classes, postponement of courses and assignments, eligibility to take exams at later dates, extending studies, etc. Minster Saar added, “The great change in higher education is the multi-year plan that was launched in August 2010. Higher education is moving forward in impressive fashion while strengthening excellence and increasing accessibility. Today, students are more involved in the higher education system, which will continue to strengthen and move forward.”

Transportation Minister Katz noted that over the past two years, his ministry has instituted many improvements and major discounts in public transportation for the student public in order to encourage the use of public transportation.  He said, “The Transportation Ministry has even expanded the system of discounts on all bus lines and on the railways, to all academic institutions in which students learn.  It has also upgraded and improved lines to all institutions of higher learning and the various campuses.”

Culture and Sports Minister Livnat said, “The student public in Israel is an important public. It is the human future of Israel in which we must invest. It is a public active in culture and sports and it is my intention to work to enhance cooperation with students so that culture and sports in Israel are accessible and available to them. This year I initiated basic scholarship grants for students from the periphery who study at schools for the arts around the country and I intend to consider ways to expand them. The ministry also supports higher schools for the arts at a cost of NIS 20 million per annum.”

Deputy Minister for the Advancement of Youth, Women and Students Gamliel described the various actions being led by her office, including a year’s free study at academic institutions in the periphery, the construction of an additional 10,000 residential units, and expanding the student village in Lod. She said, “The fact that the Prime Minister has – for the first time – appointed a deputy minister to deal with students’ affairs speaks for itself. It provides students with a channel for direct dialogue with the Government and has led to many achievements. Investing in Israeli youth is not an expenditure but a national investment. We are working to lower tuition so that it will depend on contributing to the state and to various social projects. Thus, we will be able to help students and they will be able to help us, the population.”

Deputy Minister Nass updated those in attendance on the success of the initiative to award scholarships of up to NIS 5,000 to students who volunteer in various projects and assist Holocaust survivors, and on the success of the ‘students for senior citizens’ program, which was created in cooperation with the NUIS. This was in order to promote students as agents of change in Israeli society, strengthen senior citizens and enhance the link between young people and the older population. “Thanks to the joint activity by students and senior citizens we are creating an important bridge between the generations.”

Main points of activity by the Netanyahu Government on behalf of students

* NIS Seven billion investment in higher education in the framework of the multi-year plan to promote excellence and increase accessibility;

* Plan to establish centers for research excellence and to bring back scientists from abroad;

* Recognizing students who serve in the reserves and in social frameworks;

* A free first year of study at academic institutions in the Negev, Galilee, Judea and Samaria, Ashkelon and Jerusalem;

* The construction of 10,000 additional housing units as student dormitories;

* Gradually expanding the student village in Lod;

* Amending the students Rights Law – easements for pregnant and postpartum students, and for those undergoing fertility treatment;

* Public transportation discounts: 50% on all Israel Railways lines for those holding student fare cards and 30% for those who do not; 50% discount on buses whether by single-ticket purchase, fare cards or electronic cards;

* Upgrading and improving lines to institutions of higher learning and the various campuses, with special emphasis on students’ needs in the framework of the greater Tel Aviv area transportation reform;

* Culture and Sports Ministry support for higher schools of the arts, at a cost of NIS 20 million per annum;

* Basic scholarships for students from the periphery who learn at schools for the arts around the country; and

* Scholarships in the framework of the “students for senior citizens” plan which includes seven projects that involve students in the community in exchange for grants of up to NIS 5,000.

Israel Political Brief May 23, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Inaugurates Bible Study Department Named After the Late Shmuel Ben-Artzi — Hosted Shavout Bible Study at Official Residence

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Netanyahu, wife hold bible study group at J’lem residence

Source: JPost, 5-23-12

As the world powers sat with Iran in Baghdad Wednesday afternoon to discuss Tehran’s nuclear program, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sat in the courtyard of his official residence in Jerusalem and discussed the Book of Ruth with 16 rabbis, biblical scholars, archeologists and Hebrew language experts.

“The Bible is always relevant, whether in dealing with the problems and challenges of the day, or the problems and challenges of the period,”  Netanyahu said at the start of the study group, re-establishing a tradition David Ben-Gurion established when he was prime minister, and Menachem Begin continued when he served in that office.

The study group,  established in honor of Sara Netanyahu’s late father Shmuel Ben-Artzi, a renowned Bible educator, will be held periodically at the Prime Minister’s residence.

ראש הממשלה נתניהו חנך את חוג התנ”ך של ראש הממשלה על שמו של שמואל בן ארצי ז”ל

יום רביעי ב’ סיון תשע”ב

ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו חנך הערב במעונו הרשמי את חוג התנ”ך של ראש הממשלה על שמו של שמואל בן ארצי ז”ל, אביה של הגברת שרה נתניהו שמשתתפת גם כן בחוג, שהיה מורה לתנ”ך וחוקר תנ”ך, אשר נפטר לפני כחצי שנה.

חוג התנ”ך מחדש מסורת שנוסדה ע”י ראש הממשלה הראשון של ישראל דוד בן-גוריון ז”ל ונמשכה על ידי ראש הממשלה מנחם בגין ז”ל.

בפתח השיעור הראשון של חוג התנ”ך המחודש, אמר ראש הממשלה נתניהו: “בן-גוריון ובגין האמינו שהתנ”ך צריך להיות נחלת העם כולו – חילונים ודתיים, צעירים ומבוגרים, גברים ונשים, כל העם. התנ”ך הוא מסד הקיום שלנו, התנ”ך מאחד את עם ישראל, איחד אותו במהלך הדורות והוא גם משמש לנו בעצם לא רק את המסד אלא גם את המפה והמצפן. התנ”ך תמיד רלוונטי, בין אם  לבעיות ואתגרי היום או לבעיות ואתגרי התקופה, הוא נוסך המון כוח, זהו מעיין חיים של עמנו ואני חושב שחשוב שנרחיב את לימוד התנ”ך ואהבת התנ”ך בקרב כל חלקי העם. זוהי גם המטרה של החוג הזה. אני בטוח שבאמצעות החוקרים והמלומדים והרבנים והגברים והנשים שנמצאים כאן שבקיאים בתנ”ך ואוהבים את התנ”ך, אני בטוח שאנחנו נעשיר את הידע המשותף שלנו”.

חוג התנ”ך מתקיים בבית ראש הממשלה בשיתוף מרכז מורשת בגין. השיעור המלא, שהוקדש לחג השבועות, יעלה לערוץ היוטיוב ודף הפייסבוק של משרד ראש הממשלה.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inaugurated this evening at his official residence the Bible Department of the Prime Minister in honor of the late Shmuel Ben-Artzi, father of Mrs. Sara Netanyahu who also participated in the Department, who teaches Bible and biblical scholar, and who died six months ago year.

Bible Club re-established tradition by the first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben – Gurion late and continued by Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

The first lesson at the entrance of the renovated Bible class, said the Prime Minister said: “Ben – Gurion and Menachem Begin believed that the Bible should be a thing of the whole people – secular and religious, young and old, men and women, all people. Bible is our foundation of existence, Bible from the people of Israel, joined him over the centuries and is also used by us to actually not only the foundation but also the map and compass. Bible is always relevant, whether the problems and challenges of today or the problems and challenges of the period, he pours a lot of power, it is spring life of our people and I think it’s important we come to Bible study and love of the Bible among all sectors of the nation. This is also the target of this department. I’m sure that by the researchers and scholars and rabbis, and the men and women here who are experts in the Bible and love the Bible, I’m sure we Nashir our common knowledge “.

Bible class is held in cooperation with Prime Minister Menachem Begin Heritage Center. Full class was devoted to the holiday of Shavuot, will be posted on the YouTube Channel &  Facebook page of the Prime Minister.

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 22, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the MASA Mega Event — Tells Masa Participants: Israel is Your Country

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Netanyahu to Masa Participants: Israel is Your Country

Photo by GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses the thousands of young Jews who came to Israel as part of the Masa Israel project.

Source: Israel National News, 5-22-12

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed on Tuesday the thousands of young Jews from around the world who came to Israel as part of the Masa Israel project, which is co-sponsored by the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency.

In his speech, Netanyahu called on the participants to make aliyah to Israel and to defend Israel in their countries.

“You come from many different countries, but deep down this is your one ancestral home,” said Netanyahu. “Israel is your homeland, Israel is your birthright, and Israel is your future.”

He added, “We embrace and welcome all of you who are coming here physically to join us to build a Jewish future and we send with love all of you who are planning to go back to your countries. You’re taking back with you the truth. You can speak the truth about Israel, and that’s what I expect you to do.”

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky mentioned Aaron Zindani, the Jew who was murdered in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, and said to the youth, “We must do everything to protect the Jews of Yemen and Iran. On a day like this, when someone was killed just for being Jewish, you should know that if you are thinking about making aliyah you should not hesitate, but do it now.”

The Masa Israel project brings each year about 10,000 young Jews from around the world for study and volunteer in Israel. The project aims to strengthen ties between Israel and the Jewish world. Upon their return to their countries, many participants assume key positions in their communities and become ambassadors of Israel in their countries. In recent years, many Masa Israel participants have made aliyah.

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the MASA Mega Event

Source: PMO, 5-22-12

Natan Sharansky just said something absolutely shocking.  He said that there are differing opinions among Jews.  No!  That may imply that you have four people with four opinions.  See, it’s not true – it’s four people with eight opinions.  We debate, we argue, we discuss, we disagree.  Then we agree.

I’ll tell you what we agree on.  See, when Natan, who is a hero of the Jewish people, when he was jailed in the Soviet Union and he could have avoided going to jail; all he had to do was give up his desire to come to Zion, to come to Israel.  All he had to do was do that.  But he wouldn’t.  So they put him on trial, and they sentenced him to a long prison term.  And then they asked him, “Do you have anything to say?”  He said, “To you, this court, I have nothing to say, but to my people and to my beloved wife, I say, ‘Next year in Jerusalem'”.  That’s what we agree on.  This year in Jerusalem.

I am very happy to see all of you here, this year in Jerusalem.  I know that you’ve come here from many countries.  I have to say that I saw some of you outside, but you come from all over the world.  You come from Mexico, from Britain, from France, from Australia, Canada, Brazil.  What about Russia?  Or from the Ukraine?  But I gather there is no one here from the United States?

So, you come from many different countries, but deep down this is your one ancestral home.  This is your country.  Israel is your homeland; Israel is your birthright; and Israel is your future.  So, I want to ask a direct question: how many of you plan to make Aliyah?  Stand up if you’re making Aliyah.  That’s great.  Let’s give them all a round of applause.  Thank you.

Now, first of all, we embrace and welcome all of you who are coming here physically to join us to build the Jewish future, and we send with love all of you who are planning to go back to your countries, and I think Natan said a very important thing: you’re taking back with you something very, very precious.  You’re taking back with you the truth.  You can speak the truth about Israel.  And that’s what I expect you to do.  You see, there are many people around the world who, day in and day out, malign Israel.  It used to be acceptable to spread the vilest lies about the Jewish people, and now, unfortunately, it’s acceptable to spread the vilest lies about the Jewish state – to slander and malign Israel.

But all of you have gotten to see the truth for yourselves.  You’ve seen what a great nation this is.  You’ve seen the signs.  You’ve seen the technology.  You’ve seen the progress.  You’ve seen the growing, bustling cities.  You’ve seen fun.  There’s a lot of fun in Israel.  By the way, it’s not true that it’s only fun in Tel Aviv; it’s also fun in Jerusalem.  It’s great.  You’ve seen that Israel is an open, pluralistic society.  You’ve seen that in the Middle East, where the rights of women, gays, minorities – anyone who’s different or anyone who’s a minority or anyone who’s not cut from that rigid ideological cloth – you see that in Israel people are free; people are endowed with rights; that Israel as a liberal democracy stands out.  And you’ve seen about something else: how this nation cares about each and every individual.

You know, today we had a terrible tragedy in the North.  It was an entire family, eight souls that were lost in a tragic car accident.  And you know, the whole country is focused on one survivor, a little girl called Rachel.  Rachel, the entire nation is with you.  The entire nation embraces you.  Everybody embraces this little girl, and that’s the truth about Israel.  The whole world wondered how we could unite and sacrifice so much for a single soldier, just to return one soldier: Gilad Shalit.  We did that because we care about each and every life.  See, our enemies think that because they celebrate death – they have a cult of death – they think they’re strong and they think that because we celebrate life, we’re weak.  But it’s exactly the opposite.  We’re strong because we celebrate life and we’re strong because we’re prepared to defend our lives.  And Israel will win because Israel loves life.

I want you to go back to your countries, and I want you to do two things.  One: I want you to reconsider Aliyah, that’s the first, because you have a brilliant future here, brilliant future.   This is a cutting edge country – in technology, in agriculture, in medicine, in art, in literature.  In anything.  This is a country not only of a lot of opinions, but a lot of talents.  You know we have more Nobel Prizes per capita than any other country in the world?  Maybe one of them is sitting here.  We have tremendous opportunities for young people, but we have something that we can offer you that I think you’ve figured out in the time that you’ve been here, and when you leave, you’ll have a perspective.  This is where the heart is.  This is where the Jewish past and the Jewish future blend.  This is where you can shape not only your own individual lives, but the lives of our people, and we’ve travelled for nearly 4,000 years – 3,000 years in this city alone – to ensure our future.  Be part of it.  Don’t pass it up.  You can give deep meaning to your lives.  So I want you to reconsider Aliyah, and defend Israel.  Defend Israel by saying the truth and defend Israel by being proud – proud of your heritage, proud of your Jewish identity, proud of the fact that together, we’re building and ensuring our common Jewish future.

Thank you very much.  Thank you Masa.

Israel Political Brief May 22, 2012: Vice President Joe Biden Reassures Jewish Leaders at Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations ‘All Options on Table’ with Iran

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Biden Reassures Jewish Leaders ‘All Options on Table’

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told American Jewish leaders Tuesday “all options are on the table” to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Source: Israel National News, 5-22-12

VP Joseph Biden Meets with Conference of Presidents
VP Joseph Biden Meets with Conference of Presidents
Israel News photo courtesy of Joshua Roberts

Speaking with 70 leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Washington, Biden and other senior Obama administration officials briefed the leaders on U.S. foreign policy.

The emphasis was on Iran, which secured an apparent agreement with the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency that Israel sees as not being strong enough to deter Iran from its nuclear ambitions. The deal is supposed to allow United Nations nuclear inspectors to visit Iran’s nuclear sites.

Iranian officials are to meet in Baghdad on Wednesday with the “P5 + 1,” comprised of the five United Nations Security Council permanent members and Germany.

Iran is to receive a proposal that is expected to include its agreement to shut down a high-grade uranium enrichment operation. Israeli leaders are strongly skeptical of any agreement that does not require Iran to stop all enrichment of uranium, a key element for a nuclear weapon.

At the meeting with Jewish leaders, the American officials, including Deputy National Security Advisor Dennis McDonough reiterated the administration’s “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security.

The Conference leaders routinely meet with White House officials once a year, but Tuesday’s meeting was politically important because of the presidential elections in November.

Virtually all polls show that President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, who has sewn up the GOP nomination, are running neck and-neck, with a marginal advantage to Romney.

Readout of the Vice President’s Meeting with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Vice President Biden met today at the White House with representatives of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The Vice President addressed the Obama Administration’s unprecedented support for Israel’s security; our steadfast opposition to any attempts to delegitimize Israel; and our commitment to a lasting, secure peace that is in the interest of Israelis, Palestinians and the United States. The Vice President also discussed a range of regional issues, including Iran. The Vice President praised attendees for their support of a strong relationship between the United States and Israel and the broad range of policy, charitable and intellectual pursuits in which they are engaged.

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 21, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks on Iran at a Civil Service Commission event

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks on Iran

Photo by GPO

“Iran wants to destroy Israel, and it is developing nuclear weapons to fulfill that goal.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reminding world powers they need to be tough after the chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Tuesday that the agency had reached a deal with Iran that would allow it to resume a long-stalled search for evidence that Iran worked secretly to build nuclear arms.

Source: PMO, 5-21-12

Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks this evening at a Civil Service Commission event:

“In recent weeks, I have heard those who have cast doubt on Iran’s intentions.  They said that when Iran’s leaders declare that they will wipe Israel off the map, they really mean something else in Persian.  It would be interesting to hear what they think of the Iranian Chief-of-Staff’s remarks yesterday: ‘Iran is committed to the complete destruction of Israel.’  This is clear and simple.  Iran’s goals are clear.  It wants to annihilate Israel and is developing nuclear weapons to realize this goal.

Iran threatens Israel, peace and the entire world.  Against this malicious intention, the world’s leading countries must show determination, not weakness.  They do not need to make concessions to Iran.  They need to set clear and unequivocal demands before it: Iran must halt all enrichment of nuclear material.  It must remove from its territory all nuclear material that has been enriched up until now and it must dismantle the underground nuclear facility in Qom.  Only thus will it be possible to ensure that Iran will not have a nuclear bomb.  This is Israel’s position; it has not changed and it will not change.”

Israel Political Brief May 20, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu at Jerusalem Day Ceremony: Ceding Temple Mount will Lead to War

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Netanyahu: Ceding Temple Mount will Lead to War

“Israel without Jerusalem is like a body with a weak heart. Ceding religious sites will lead to religious war.”
Binyamin Netanyahu

Binyamin Netanyahu
Israel news photo: Flash 90

At a ceremony honoring the reunification of Jerusalem in the Six Day War, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made some of his strongest statements to date regarding the right of the Jewish nation to sovereignty over its ancient capital of Jerusalem.

“A lasting peace can only be made with a strong nation,” Netanyahu asserted. “Without a united Jerusalem, the state of Israel will be a body with a weak heart. Our heart will never be divided again.”

Speaking at a Jerusalem Day ceremony on Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill, Netanyahu noted that wherever Jewish people pray, anywhere in the world, they do so facing Jerusalem – “the place that was always the center of our lives; the place that reminds us of our glorious past and serves as a focus for our future hopes.”

“We will not turn our backs on those who faced Jerusalem throughout the ages,” he said. “We will safeguard Jerusalem because Israel without Jerusalem is like a body without a heart – and it was on this hill that the heart went back to beating at full strength.”

“On Jerusalem Day, the divided city became whole – and it will remain that way.”

“I have doubts, to put it mildly, that if we deposit the Temple Mount with foreign forces, we will not very quickly slip into a religious sectarian war,” he said. “Only under Israeli sovereignty, the accessibility and freedom of worship for all religions is a certainty, and will remain a certainty. Only under Israel are peace and quiet maintained.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 20, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Yom Yerushalim at Merkaz HaRav: “I Will Never Divide Jerusalem”

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Netanyahu at Merkaz HaRav: “I Will Never Divide Jerusalem”

Emotional Netanyahu vows: “I know my roots. I will never give up any of Jerusalem”. Rosh yeshiva reveals letters from PM’s grandfather.
 PM Netanyahu at Merkaz HaRav
PM Netanyahu at Merkaz HaRav
פלאש90′

The traditional Jerusalem Day celebrations at the flagship religious Zionist yeshiva, Merkaz HaRav Kook, took place on Sunday evening so as not to cause desecration of the Sabbath.

This year, in addition to words of Torah about the city, dancing and joyous song led by famed clarinetist Musa Berlin and singer Akiva Margaliot, they included an historical revelation by the head of the yeshiva and an emotional declaration of loyalty to united Jerusalem by the Prime Minister himself, who vowed “I will never forget thee, O Jerusalem” and spoke of the international pressures to give in on the city with which he is confronted – receiving a loud burst of applause from the packed audience.

The celebrations, as always, were attended by the Chief Rabbis and the most renowned Torah luminaries in the religious Zionist world, as well as high ranking public figures including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Education Minister Gideon Saar, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, MK Zevulun Orlev.

Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, the head of the yeshiva, told the Prime Minister  that he has found a letter of gratitude sent by the Prime Minister’s grandfather, Rabbinic scholar Natan Millikowsky (who changed the family name to Netanyahu) to Israel’s Chief Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, founding head of the yeshiva, after asking him to see that justice is done to Abba Ahimeir, the Revisionist Zionist accused of murdering Labor Zionist leader Chaim Arlozorov, killed while walking with his wife on the Tel Aviv beach in 1933.

Netanyahu’s own father had gone to the PM’s grandfather for help, stating that he had met with Ahimeir at Zion Square in Jerusalem shortly before the murder, so that it was physically impossible for Ahimeir to be in Tel Aviv when the assassination took place. He said that no one would listen to him, and the elderly rabbi turned to Rabbi Kook, who saw to Ahimeir’s vindication by himself, putting himself on the line (The sensational murder, which caused severe rifts in the rival Zionist movements, with Labor accusing Jabotinsky’s followers of perpetrating it, has never been solved).

Rabbi Millikovsky also asked Rabbi Kook to write Ahimeir a letter of encouragement while he was imprisoned.

Netanyahu, visibly affected, said that he knew the rudiments of the story from his father, for whom he sat shiva less than a month ago, but had not known of the existence of the letters.

Rabbi Shapira used Torah references to remind the Prime Minister pointedly that he must have courage and show leadership, as did King Hezekiah of yore, to leave standing all Jewish construction in Eretz Yisrael, saying that Jerusalem symbolizes the entire country and that Beit El and Jerusalem are one. He reminded him that the word Ulpana means a place of learning, a clear reference to the Ulpana houses in Beit El, to Migron and other disputed communities in Judea and Samaria. He told him to follow in his late father’s way, saying that he spoke in the name of all those Jews in Judea and Samaria and the entire Jewish people..

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said during the celebrations, “Jerusalem needs people with power and self-sacrifice such as those who defended the Jewish Quarter in 1948 or those who liberated the city 45 years ago. At a time when we are threatened from the outside and are weakened from within, we need to be clear: We’ve returned to Jerusalem and we will remain there.”

He added, “We will not be frightened by ‘marches on Jerusalem’ of various kinds, by political provocations, by boycotts and by schemes. Some say that Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty is the main factor to foment tension and wars in the region and globally, and I say that a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty is the only guarantee for peace and is the embodiment of justice.”

Rivlin expressed regret that “in recent years there has been a public weakness in respect to our right to Jerusalem. Former prime ministers had been engaged, both secretly and openly, in negotiations over Jerusalem. This obfuscation of our right to Jerusalem…weakens our hold not only on Jerusalem but on the entire land of Israel; it creates a large gap in our children’s Jewish identity.”

Education Minister Gideon Saar said, “Our obligation to protect Jerusalem is related to our ability to tell ourselves, as well as strangers, the facts and insist on the truth, and that is that not only is Jerusalem mentioned in the Holy Book, but also that Jerusalem has never been the capital of anyone other than the Jewish people.”

He added, “We need to repeat these facts in the face of the lie imposed by our enemies – Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinians and the entire Arab world. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel. It has been our united capital for more than 3,000 years and it will not be divided again.

“For the past three years, half a million students visit Jerusalem every year and experience it through their own eyes and feet, and today for the first time fifth graders participated in a nationwide contest on Jerusalem and its history,” noted Saar.

NIr Barkat, Jerusalem’s mayor, spoke of the centrality of the yeshiva and of his plans for the development of the Holy City.

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו בישיבת מרכז הרב ביום ירושלים

צילום לע”מ

יום ראשון כ”ח אייר תשע”ב

–  הטקסט עבר התאמת עריכה –

ריגשתם אותי עד מאוד, ריגשת אותי עד מאוד ראש הישיבה הרב יעקב שפירא, ממשיך דרכו של רבנו האהוב אברהם שפירא, וברשות הרבנים המכובדים והדיינים וראש עיריית ירושלים ניר ברקת וחבר הכנסת זבולון אורלב, רבני הערים, ראשי הישיבות, תלמידים יקרים, חברים יקרים.

אני עדיין בתוך השלושים, והמכתב, חילופי המכתבים האלה שהבאתם בפניי מעלים פרשה סוערת שהתרחשה כאן בארץ ישראל לפני כמעט שמונים שנה. באחד מהימים באותה שנה הלך אבי, שהיה אז בן 23, הוא פגש בכיכר ציון את אב”א אחימאיר חברו, השעה הייתה לפנות ערב. כעבור כשעתיים נרצח ארלוזורוב על שפת ימה של תל אביב. אחימאיר וסטבסקי, הואשמו ברצח.

אבי הזדעזע כשהוא שמע את זה, כי בצלילות מחשבתו ובחדות ניתוחיו הוא קודם כל הבין שאין היתכנות מעשית להגיע מכיכר ציון לשפת ימה של תל אביב בתנאי התחבורה שהיו קיימים אז. ברוחב מחשבתו ובהבחנותיו הוא ראה גם סתירות אחרות והוא הגיע למסקנה שמדובר בעלילה, עלילה שהלכה והתגבשה מייד כשהציונות הרוויזיוניסטית, ברית הבריונים כפי שקראו לה אז, הם הם שרצחו את ארלוזורוב. אבל הוא ידע שאחד מהנאשמים העיקריים, הוא ראה אותו, הוא פגש אותו, הוא ידע שהדבר הוא בלתי אפשרי.

ובסער לבו הלך אבי אל אביו, הרב נתן מליקובסקי ששינה את שמו לרב נתן נתניהו. הוא הלך אליו ואמר לו שהוא חייב ללכת אל הרב קוק ולגייסו כדי לצאת נגד עלילת הדם. סבי אז כבר לא היה בקו הבריאות, אבל הוא גייס את כוחותיו והלך אל הרב קוק, והרב קוק יצא בקול גדול נגד העלילה, ובכך, בכוח אישיותו, יושרו, אצילותו וכוח השפעתו, הוא סובב את דעת הקהל. בסופו של דבר יצא משפט צדק, וכפי שאתם רואים סבי לא הסתפק בזה, והנה באה החלפת המכתבים הזאת, שאגב לא הייתי מודע לה, אז אני מודה לכם על התוספת לארכיון המשפחתי-הלאומי שלנו.

וזמן קצר לאחר מכן נפטר סבי, שהיה אדם צעיר בשנות החמישים, והרב קוק הספיד אותו. הוא ספד לו בהלוויה, והוא כתב על סבי, שהיה רב ומטיף גדול לציונות, הוא כתב: ‘מעט מאוד ראיתי בני אדם החיים בתוך החברה המודרנית שיהיו מלאים הערצה כזאת לתורה, לגדולתה, שיהיו קשורים כל כך בעומק נשמתנו בהכרה שכל עבודתנו הלאומית, הפוליטית והבניינית, הצלחתה תלויה במידה שהיא יונקת ממקור הכבוד, ממקור הכבוד של ישראל הנובע מדבר ה’ שבתורתנו הקדושה ומתוך חזון נביאי האמת וצדק, מאירי מחשכי האנושיות כולה’. ועוד הוא מוסיף על סבי: ‘הוא הרגיש את האמת הזו בכל לב, והרבה פעמים הצליח לבטא אותה בפאתוס מלא חיים ועוז’.

ידידיי, כמו סבי לפניי, אין לי כל ספק באשר למקור כוחו של עמנו. הוא נובע ממורשתנו, הוא נובע מאמונתנו. אתה אמרת, הרב שפירא, שאני מתייצב בפני מנהיגי העולם, אני מציג את האמת שלנו, את האמת ללא מורא, כי אני יודע שאני מייצג לא רק את אזרחי מדינתנו ולא רק את בני עמנו. כשאני נושא דברים באו”ם או כשאני יושב בחדר הסגלגל בבית הלבן, או כשאני נפגש עם נשיאים וראשי ממשלות, אני יודע שחובתי לדבר גם בשם אומה בת 4,000 שנה. אני יודע שחובתי לדבר בשם מאה דורות של יהודים שהשתוקקו לבנות מחדש את חייהם הלאומיים על האדמה הזו. אני יודע שחובתי לדבר בשם עם שציין כל חגיגה וגם כל טרגדיה במשאלה פשוטה: לבנות מחדש את ירושלים, “לשנה הבאה בירושלים”, חלום הדורות. זוהי הבטחה קדושה שלעולם לא אזנח. לעולם.

ביום הזה אנו חוגגים 45 שנים לשחרורה של ירושלים, אבל אנחנו חוגגים דבר שהוא עוצמתי פי כמה. אנחנו חוגגים 3,000 שנות היסטוריה בעיר הזאת ואלפיים שנות כיסופים. אנחנו חוגגים את התגשמות החלום הנצחי ואת מימוש החזון הנבואי. אנחנו היינו היום, לפני שעות אחדות, בגבעת התחמושת, וציינו את הקרב על שחרורה ואיחודה מחדש של ירושלים, איחוי הלב הקרוע של עמנו, ואמרתי שאני זוכר את הרטט שעבר בלבי כששמעתי את מוטה גור אומר: “הר הבית בידינו”. הלב של מי לא רטט, מי לא חשב אז, הזכרתי את דוד ושלמה, ישעיהו וירמיהו וחזקיהו, עד יהודה המכבי ורבי יהודה הלוי, והרמב”ם לפניו והרצל אחריו ועד ימינו אנו: “הר הבית בידינו”. זה לב האומה.

אז כשאני שומע את אומות העולם מבקרות אותי על בנייה בירושלים, אני חושב על המלך דוד ששלט בעיר הזאת אלפי שנים כמעט לפני שכל האומות הללו קמו. אני חושב על ישעיהו שניצב על חומות ירושלים כדי להזהיר את המעצמה הגדולה של זמנו לבל תמיט רעה כלשהי על העיר. ואני יודע, יש שרואים בהיסטוריה הזו נטל גדול. הם מאמינים שכדי להבטיח את העתיד עלינו להתנתק מהעבר, הם טועים. הם טועים טעות גדולה, כי ההיסטוריה הזאת היא מקור עוצמתנו הלאומית, בלעדיה איננו יותר מאשר עלה נידף ברוח. כל אחד ואחד מכם ההולך בדרכו של הרב קוק מבין זאת היטב. אתם מבינים שניתוק אומה מעברה הוא כמו ניתוק עץ משורשיו, וזו הסיבה שאתם עמלים יום אחר יום לחזק את שורשיה של אומה זו, לגזום את ענפיה ולהרוות את אדמתה. אתם יודעים שרק כך נוכל ללמד את עמנו כיצד למצות את מלוא התקווה והפוטנציאל המצויים בו.

אני רוצה שתבינו, גם אויבינו מבינים את מקור כוחנו. רק לפני שנים ספורות אמר נציג אש”ף בלבנון את הדברים הבאים: ‘אם ישראל תצא מירושלים מה יישאר מכל הדיבורים הללו על הארץ המובטחת והעם הנבחר, הרעיון הציוני יתחיל להתמוטט’. ידידיי, כל עוד אני ראש ממשלה זה לא יקרה, ולא ניתן שזה יקרה אף פעם. אחריותי כראש ממשלת ישראל היא לעשות כל שביכולתי כדי להבטיח את עתיד המדינה היהודית ועתידו של העם היהודי.

ישנם אלה שמאמינים שהבטחת עתיד עמנו משמעותה חלוקת ירושלים, אבל ירושלים היא לב לבו של עמנו ולא ניתן להבטיח את עתידנו על ידי עקירת לבנו. את העתיד מבטיחים באמצעות חיזוק הלב שלנו, וזה מה שאני עושה וזה מה שאני אמשיך לעשות. אמשיך לבנות את ירושלים, אמשיך לעמוד איתן מול אומות העולם, אמשיך לומר להן שירושלים תישאר תמיד בירתה המאוחדת של מדינת ישראל ובירתו המאוחדת של עם ישראל.

אני נדרש, אכן כפי שאמרת הרב, לנווט את ספינת המדינה דרך ימים גועשים ורוחות חזקות. אולם אני מבטיח לכם זאת: לעולם לא אאבד את מצפני. המצפן שירשתי מאבי ומסבי ומאבותינו. לעולם לא אתפשר על ביטחוננו ועל זהותנו למען אהדת העולם. כמו סבי לפני, לעולם לא אשכח את מקור כוחנו הלאומי, לעולם לא אשכח את ירושלים.

חג שמח לכם.
חג שמח לירושלים.

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 20, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu & Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting — Special Meeting Marking Yom Yerushalim, 45th Anniversary of the Liberation and Unification of Jerusalem at Ammunition Hill

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 5-20-12


Photo By GPO

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem:

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Good morning.  We are holding a special meeting to mark the 45th anniversary of the liberation and unification of Jerusalem.  We come with a united Government to a united Jerusalem.  We have a great obligation to see to the development of the city and to work together with the Mayor of the city, who has done much to advance Jerusalem into the 21st century very quickly while maintaining our special heritage, which is basically the foundation of our existence here.  Nir Barkat, if you please.”

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat: “Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Government ministers.

First, I would like to thank you for your direct support of Jerusalem.  Thank you also to the ministers and deputy ministers for your complete commitment to the city.  Since the Government was established, your Government has – year after year, continuously – supported Jerusalem and provided it with resources and significant tools, unprecedented in relation to what has been in the past, which have enabled us to accelerate momentum in the city.  The scope of investments, projects and inter-ministerial cooperation in the city are on the increase and this greatly contributes to the changes and processes moving through the city of Jerusalem.

This year, we have good news: The investments are starting to bear fruit.  For the first time, we are seeing a change in the trend – from a drastic decline in the numbers of students in the state secular and state religious schools in Jerusalem, after over 15 years, we see an increase in the state secular stream and for three years already, we have seen growth in the numbers of students in the state religious stream.  Of course, this is alongside growth in other sectors.

Economic and cultural growth in the city have also been considerably higher than the national average over the past three years.  Look at the skyline and you will an increasing number of cranes, which indicates growth.  Jerusalem has returned to being a cultural capital with a growing number of visitors and tourists.

We also see an increase in pupils’ achievements on their matriculation exams, an increase in enlistment in the IDF from Zionist schools, and an increase in the number of pupils in youth movements.  We see that the Government and the Municipality are continuing – at an accelerated pace – to reduce the gap in the number of classrooms in the Arab and ultra-orthodox sectors thanks to considerable investments in physical infrastructure in eastern Jerusalem.  The residents have felt this very well.

Jerusalem has returned to being a city that it is worthwhile to live in.  The public in Jerusalem is expressing confidence in the city and we see that it is more satisfied than the national average.

Mr. Prime Minister, the Middle East is a seething cauldron.  The world is awash with instability and crises.  However, we see that in the State of Israel in general and in Jerusalem at its heart in particular, economic growth is accelerating.  We are enjoying an increase in visitors, from unprecedented quiet in activity in the municipal framework.  This would not have occurred without your support, Mr. Prime Minister, as well as that of the assembled ministers and members of the municipal administration.  I am entirely hopeful that we will continue to build up Jerusalem for the benefit of all its residents despite global trends.

I would like to wish all of you a happy Jerusalem Day.  May we meet here again next year with more good news, amidst further momentum in the economic development of the city.

Thank you Mr. Prime Minister.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Thank you.  The work is indeed considerable and impressive and is being carried out under your leadership and, of course, in cooperation with, and led by, Government ministers.  Each one of them has contributed of his or her time and energy and, I must say, from their budgets.

There is very great commitment to the unity and development of Jerusalem.  We are translating this, first of all, into a lot of money that we are investing here.  We also see this in the aesthetic change that has come over the city – in infrastructure, education, tourism and tourist sites.  We are continuing this here today with the decisions that we will make.

We are committed to the liberation of Jerusalem.  With the concurrence of Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, we have also decided to maintain and renovate this site.  Ammunition Hill expresses the heroism and self-sacrifice, without which Jerusalem would not be unified.  We will renovate this site and turn it into a heritage site.  As soon as it becomes a national heritage site, it will, in effect, ensure its continued operation for generations to come.

A second thing that we are committed to, first of all, is to the city’s past.  Jerusalem was a city of the Bible, Jerusalem will be a city of the Bible.  Today, we will make a series of decisions that will enable us to build Biblical sites in the city that will enhance and explain our link to the Land of the Bible, to Zion, and also allow millions of people, no less, millions of people to have a direct appreciation of Israel’s heritage as it finds expression in the Bible.  This will be Jerusalem and this is very important.

We are committed to Jerusalem’s present – to build apartments.  Today, we will make decisions that will make it easier for military and police personnel to live in Jerusalem.  This is very important, there is housing distress and there is also great demand for housing – and we will deal with it.

We are also committed to an expanded tourism plan that will embrace the entire city; this will lead to the present and future development of Jerusalem.  We are committed to the future.  There is a special expression to this that we will decide upon today – the decision to build the Einstein museum.  The idea is President Shimon Peres’ and I adopt it wholeheartedly.  I think that the Government ministers who are familiar with this special idea can give it their backing because it will attract the entire world to the museum, which has been designed in the image of the head of Albert Einstein.  I believe that this will be a global attraction.

We are joining the past, the present and the future, and I think that very great and important things are being done here to ensure the future of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital as well.

I would also like to comment on one additional issue, that of illegal work infiltrators.  This phenomenon is very grave and threatens the social fabric of society, our national security and our national identity.

It began over seven years ago and upon the Government’s entry into office three years ago, we decided to deal with this problem in all its aspects – first of all, to stop the entry and second, to begin to withdraw those who were already inside.  If we do not stop the entry, the problem, there are now 60,000 illegal infiltrators, could easily grow to 600,000 illegal infiltrators.  This would inundate the state and, to a considerable degree, cancel out its image as a Jewish and democratic state.

Therefore, the first necessity is to build a physical barrier and again, all ministers here have contributed from their budgets so that we can build this barrier which is currently nearing completion.  By October it will be complete in its entirety, except for a small section around Eilat, which we are dealing with separately and where a fence will be completed.  But until then we will block it with other means, including forces.

Then the first thing is to stop the entry.  And the second thing – is to start withdrawing.  How will this be done?  First of all, those who employ illegal infiltrators will be punished severely and we will also begin the physical withdrawal.  I know that this issue bothers many citizens, and rightly so.  I talk with them.  I have been to Eilat and other places, so have the ministers.  We are aware of the distress; we are dealing with it.  We will resolve the issue, not by shouting, but by action.  We hear the shouts, we are taking action and the action will succeed.

A Happy Jerusalem Day to you.

Jerusalem is, by the way, a beautiful city.  I see it as very picturesque.  Together, we will make it even more beautiful.

A happy holiday to Jerusalem.  Thank you.”

 

  1. The Cabinet decided to develop Ammunition Hill as a national heritage site in order to strengthen awareness of its historic story among the public at large.
  2. The Cabinet approved a series of plans to strengthen the city of Jerusalem and advance its economic, tourist and social development.
  3. Pursuant to its policy of strengthening tourism in Jerusalem and to the understanding that tourism is a significant economic growth engine for the State of Israel in general and for Jerusalem in particular, the Cabinet decided to formulate, within 24 months, a strategic tourism plan for the city of Jerusalem.
  4. The Cabinet decided to establish the Albert Einstein Museum in Jerusalem  to reveal items from the legacy of the father of the theory of relativity.
  5. The Cabinet decided to build Bible-based tourist sites, including a Bible museum, in Jerusalem in order to attract tourists from around the world and enable them to enjoy unique experiences based on the history, culture, archaeology and heritage of Jerusalem, with the main theme being representing the Biblical era in the authentic environment in which the events took place.
  6. The Cabinet instructed the Israel Land Administration to allocate, in 2012-2015, tender-free land in Jerusalem for those serving in the security forces (see #3 above).
  7. Pursuant to the 1959 State Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet approved Eyal Avraham Rosner to direct the Prime Minister’s Office national plan to develop technologies to reduce the global use of petroleum in transportation.
  8. At the close of the Cabinet meeting, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat reiterated his thanks to Prime Minister Netanyahu, the other ministers and the various ministries for their contribution toward the development and advancement of Jerusalem and for the cooperation that the municipality has met with in its contacts with the various ministries.

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 20, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Ceremony Marking the 45th Anniversary of the Unification of Jerusalem at Ammunition Hill — Yom Yerushalim

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Speech at the Ceremony Marking the 45th Anniversary of the Unification of Jerusalem at Ammunition Hill

Source: PMO, 5-20-12


Photo by GPO

Just days ago, I visited the Altneu Synagogue in Prague, the Maharal’s [Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel] synagogue.  Three months ago, I visited the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam.  These are two of the most remarkable synagogues in the world.  One has been serving the Jewish community of the Czech Republic for nearly 800 years.  The second has served the Jewish community of Holland for 350 years.  One is Ashkenazi, the other Sepharadic.  One is small and intimate.  The other is large and magnificent.

But what connects them is what connects every synagogue around the world.  When Jews pray in Prague or in Amsterdam, in New York or in Moscow, in Mexico City or in Hong Kong, in Haifa or in Beer Sheva, the face the same direction our people have faced for thousands of years.  They face Jerusalem.

They face the place that has always been the center of our national and spiritual life, the place that reminds us of our glorious past and serves as the focus of our hopes for the future.  And we will not turn our backs on those who have faced Jerusalem for generations.  We will preserve Jerusalem because an Israel without Jerusalem is like a body without a heart.  It was on this hill, 45 years ago, that the heart that unites our people began to beat again with full strength; and our heart will never be divided again.

There are people who believe that if we just divide Jerusalem, which means eventually conceding the Temple Mount – they believe we will have peace.  They believe that, but they are wrong.  I am doubtful, to put it mildly, that if we grant other forces control over that square above the Temple Mount, we won’t see the situation deteriorate so quickly that will devolve into a religious and sectarian war.  I also know that this is the lesson of the ages – that only under Israeli rule, under Israeli sovereignty – access and freedom of religion and freedom of worship for all religions has been and will continue to be ensured.  Only under Israel.  Only under Israel will the quiet be maintained; only under Israel will peace between the religions be maintained.

Sustainable peace is made with strong nations, and an Israel without a unified Jerusalem will be like a body with a weak heart.  I want to say something else: a nation that is willing to sacrifice its heart will only convince its enemies that it lacks the willpower to fight for anything.

Forty-five years ago, this place saw our people’s determination and the iron will of our fighters.  They fought like lions in these trenches, against wave after wave of machine gun and heavy fire.  They fought like lions, but more than that, they fought for Jerusalem and they won.

During that same fierce battle, 36 of our best men perished – and in all of Jerusalem, 182 IDF fighters died, and Jewish history changed forever.  A city divided became whole – and it will remain so.

Our generation has been granted a great privilege: we are witnesses to the fulfillment of the words of the prophets.  We saw the resurrection of Zion; we saw the restoration of the sovereignty of the people of Israel here in the Land of Israel; we saw the ingathering of the exiles; and we saw the unification and rebuilding of Jerusalem.  Our generation also bears the tremendous responsibility of ensuring that we safeguard this transformation for future generations.

The prophet Isaiah said: “Wake, wake!  Arise, O Jerusalem.”  Well, Jerusalem has arisen.  After centuries of repression and intolerance by other faiths, Jerusalem has arisen and been unified.

I remember the day when Motta Gur said that the Temple Mount was in our possession.  Whose heart did not tremble?  Who did not think then about David and Solomon, about Isaiah and Jeremiah, about the prophesies of hope and the lamentations of destruction?  Who did not feel the prayer of generations that beats within us?  I felt it and so did you.

And with this great power, we ushered in a transformation here that could not be imagined.  What was less than a century ago a forgotten, impoverished and neglected backwater has now become a bustling, vibrant, developed and advanced metropolis, the greatest requisite of Israel – and the united capital of our nation.

Jerusalem is where our past has been uncovered and our future has been built, the place where our unparalleled spiritual treasures reside, a place of world-renowned universities and museums, a place where unprecedented numbers are studying our heritage and where the genius of our people is expanding the limits of science, medicine, technology, the material sciences and the life sciences, and many other sciences.

For 45 years, we have built and developed Jerusalem – North and South, East and West.  We will continue to build Jerusalem.

We will continue to develop our capital and we will continue to ensure that its golden light continues to light the future of our people and shine a light across the world – the light of Jerusalem.

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו בעצרת הממלכתית לציון 45 שנים לאיחוד ירושלים

יום ראשון כ”ח אייר תשע”ב

הטקסט עבר התאמת עריכה

אישי, נשיא המדינה, שמעון פרס כמה טוב לראות אותך בריא ושלם ונמרץ כתמיד עמנו. ידידי יו”ר הכנסת ראובן ריבלין, נשיא בית המשפט העליון אשר גרוניס, הרב הראשי לישראל, הרב יונה מצגר, שר התחבורה ישראל כץ, חברי כנסת, ראש עיריית ירושלים, ניר ברקת, מפכ”ל משטרת ישראל רב-ניצב יוחנן דנינו, אלופי צה”ל ומפקדיו, אברהם דובדבני יו”ר הנהלת ההסתדרות הציונית העולמית, יו”ר עמותת גבעת התחמושת וההנהלה, לוחמי צה”ל, משפחות יקרות, קהל נכבד.

לפני ימים אחדים ביקרתי בבית הכנסת אלטנוי שבפראג, בית הכנסת של המהר”ל. לפני שלושה חודשים, ביקרתי בבית הכנסת הפורטוגזי באמסטרדם. אלה שניים מבתי הכנסת המופלאים בעולם. האחד משרת את הקהילה היהודית בצ’כיה קרוב  לשמונה מאות שנה. ואילו השני משרת את קהילת יהודי הולנד כשלוש מאות וחמישים שנה. האחד אשכנזי, השני ספרדי. האחד קטן ואינטימי. והשני  גדול ומפואר.

אבל מה שמחבר ביניהם הוא מה שמחבר בין כל בתי הכנסת ברחבי העולם. כשיהודים מתפללים בפראג או באמסטרדם, בניו-יורק או במוסקבה, במקסיקו סיטי או בהונג קונג, בחיפה או בבאר שבע, הם פונים לאותו כיוון שאליו פונים בני עמנו מזה אלפי שנים. הם פונים לירושלים.

הם פונים למקום שמאז ומתמיד היה מרכז חיינו הלאומיים והרוחניים, המקום שמזכיר לנו את עברנו המפואר ומשמש מוקד לתקוותינו לעתיד. ואנחנו לא נפנה עורף לפונים לירושלים במהלך הדורות. אנחנו נשמור על ירושלים. כי ישראל ללא ירושלים היא כמו גוף ללא לב. ועל גבעה זו, לפני 45 שנים, חזר לפעום מחדש ובמלוא עוצמתו הלב המאוחד של עמנו, וליבנו לעולם לא יחולק שוב.

ישנם אלה שמאמינים שאם רק נחלק את ירושלים, והמשמעות היא בסופו של דבר לוותר על הר הבית, הם מאמינים שיהיה לנו שלום. הם מאמינים כך, אבל הם טועים. אני מסופק בלשון המעטה, שאם נפקיד את הריבוע הזה שעל הר הבית לכוחות אחרים שלא נדרדר מהר מאוד למלחמה דתית, סקטוריאלית. ואני יודע את לקח הדורות, שרק תחת שלטון ישראל, תחת ריבונות ישראל, מובטחת ותמשיך להיות מובטחת הנגישות ויובטח החופש הדתי וחופש הפולחן לכל הדתות, רק תחת ישראל. רק תחת ישראל נשמר השקט, רק תחת ישראל נשמר השלום בין הדתות.

שלום בר קיימא עושים עם אומה חזקה, וישראל בלי ירושלים המאוחדת תהיה כמו גוף עם לב חלש. אני רוצה להגיד לכם דבר נוסף אומה שמוכנה להקריב את ליבה רק תשכנע את אויביה שהיא נעדרת כוח רצון  להילחם על דבר כלשהו.

המקום הזה, לפני 45 שנה, ראה את נחישות עמנו, וראה את רצון הברזל של לוחמינו. הם נלחמו כאריות, ממש כאריות, פה בתעלות האלה, בגל אחר גל מול מקלעים ורובים ואש תופת, הם נלחמו כמו אריות אבל יותר מזה הם נלחמו למען ירושלים והם גברו.

באותו קרב עז נפלו 36 ממיטב בחורינו – ובכל ירושלים נפלו 182 לוחמי צה”ל, וההיסטוריה היהודית השתנתה לעד. העיר המחולקת הפכה לשלמה. וכך היא תישאר.

זכות גדולה נפלה בחלקו של הדור שלנו. אנחנו חוזים בהתגשמות דברי הנביאים, חזינו בתקומת ציון, חזינו בהשבת הריבונות של עם ישראל פה בארץ ישראל, חזינו בקיבוץ הגלויות וחזינו באיחודה ובנייתה מחדש של ירושלים. ועל הדור שלנו מוטלת האחריות הגדולה להבטיח את שימורו של מהפך זה גם לדורות הבאים.

הנביא ישעיהו אמר: “התעוררי התעוררי, קומי ירושלים”. ובכן, ירושלים קמה. ואחרי מאות שנים של דיכוי ואי סובלנות של דתות אחרות, קמה לה ירושלים ואוחדה לה יחדיו.

אני זוכר את אותו יום כשמוטה גור אמר, שהר הבית בידינו, הלב של מי לא רעד. מי לא חשב אז על דוד ושלמה, על ישעיהו ועל ירמיהו, על נבואות התקווה וקינות החורבן, מי לא חשב, מי לא להרגיש את זה. את תפילת הדורות מפעמת בתוכו, כך אני הרגשתי וכך אתם הרגשתם.

ואנחנו עם הכוח העצום הזה חוללנו פה מהפך שאי אפשר היה לדמיין אותו, מה שהיה עד לפני פחות ממאה שנים, מקום שכוח אל, עני, מוזנח, הפך למטרופולין משגשג, תוסס, מתפתח ומתקדם, הכרח הגדול בישראל  – ולבירתו המאוחדת של עם ישראל.

ירושלים היא המקום שבו נחשף עברנו ונבנה עתידנו. מקום משכנם של אוצרות רוחניים שאין להם אח ורע, של אוניברסיטאות ומוזיאונים מן השורה הראשונה בעולם, המקום שבו יש מספר חסר תקדים של תלמידים שלומדים את מורשתנו, ושבו הגאוניות של עמנו פורצת את גבולות המדע, הרפואה, הטכנולוגיה, את מדע החומרים ומדע החיים ועוד מדעים רבים אחרים.

במשך 45 שנים, בנינו ופיתחנו את ירושלים – מצפון לדרום, ממזרח למערב. ונמשיך לבנות את ירושלים.

נמשיך לפתח את בירתנו, ונמשיך להבטיח שאורה הזהוב ימשיך להאיר את עתיד עמנו ויפיץ אור יקרות לעולם כולו, אורה של ירושלים.

Israel Political Brief May 18, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Skeptical of Western Sanctions & Iran Talks

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu Skeptical of Iran Talks

For the third time in recent months, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said he doubts Western sanctions will halt Iran’s nuclear program

Source: Israel National News, 5-18-12

Binyamin Netanyahu

Binyamin Netanyahu
Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday said he is skeptical that Iran will agree to halt its nuclear program.

“I see no evidence whatsoever that Iran is ready to end its nuclear program,” he said just days ahead of a crucial round of nuclear talks with Tehran.

The P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – are set for a May 23 meeting with Iran in Baghdad.

Speaking in Prague, Netanyahu called it “the paramount issue of our time.”

Netanyahu did not present any ultimatums, but Israeli officials have said time is running out to avoid military action…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 18, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Comments Baghdad Talks on Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu Comments on Baghdad Talks

Source: PMO, 5-18-12

Photo by GPO

Following are remarks that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made about the Baghdad talks, earlier today, at a press availability in Prague:

“Obviously, nothing would be better than to see this issue resolved diplomatically.  But I have seen no evidence that Iran is serious about stopping its nuclear weapons program.  It looks as though they see these talks as another opportunity to deceive and delay just like North Korea did for years.

They may try to go from meeting to meeting with empty promises.  They may agree to something in principle but not implement it.  They might even agree to implement something that does not materially derail their nuclear weapons program.

Iran is good at playing this chess game.  They know that sometimes you have to sacrifice a pawn to save the king.  The goal of these negotiations should be very clear:

Freeze all enrichment inside Iran.

Remove all enriched material outside of Iran.

And dismantle Qom.

When this goal is achieved, I will be the first to applaud.  Until then, count me among the skeptics.”

Israel Brief May 18, 2012: Students Visit Jerusalem in Honor of Yom Yerushalayim — Reunification Day

ISRAEL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Students Visit Jerusalem in Honor of Reunification Day

More than 10,000 students from all over Israel visit Jerusalem in honor of Yom Yerushalayim.
Students visit Jerusalem

Students visit Jerusalem
Haggai Huberman

More than 10,000 students from all over Israel visited Jerusalem on Thursday, in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Reunification Day) which will be celebrated on Sunday.

The students toured the city together with the Education Ministry’s director general Dalit Stauber, visited major sites and learned about the city’s history. The day ended with a youth rally held at the Sultan’s Pool.

The visit was part of a commitment by Education Minister Gideon Saar who, upon taking office, declared that one of his goals is to strengthen the Zionist and Jewish values in the education system, including strengthening the students’ connection to Jerusalem.

In accordance with Saar’s vision, the Education Ministry began this year a program called “Going Up to Jerusalem”, which takes students on tours of Jerusalem and aims to significantly increase the number of students who visit the city. Thanks to the program, the number of students who visited Jerusalem this year currently stands at 500,000.

According to Itzik Ross of the Ministry of Education’s Southern Region, visits to Jerusalem are essential, because it is the eternal city no matter what one’s political opinions may be.

“There is an increase in visitors to Jerusalem,” he told Arutz Sheva. “This is an educational process in which students learn about Jerusalem and connect themselves to the city’s history. Through the visit, the students’ connection to the eternal city becomes stronger. They learn about the settlement in Jerusalem, starting from the Old Yishuv and until the city’s unification in the 1967 Six Day War.”

Ross noted that all parents and students welcome the project and added, “Jerusalem is our eternal city no matter what side of the political spectrum you are on. We do not engage in politics; this is our capital city. I have not encountered parents or students who are opposed to the project. Everyone is excited about it.”

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